Saturday, November 25, 2006

Picture book / Pictures of yourself / Taken by yourself / A short time ago . . .

I have to do this self-portrait project for an art class I'm taking. I'm supposed to take a bunch of photos of myself, make a collage out of 'em, then draw the whole damn thing. After fooling around with the camera all day, I'm beginning to suspect that I'll be wearing Depends before I finish this project.

Ever tried taking a picture of yourself? Well, don't, because it's damn near impossible and you'll waste half your damn day.

Besides that, you'll wind up looking like a sociopath.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

One day you turn around and it's summer
Next day you turn around and it's fall
And the springs and the winters of a lifetime
Whatever happened to them all?

-- from “September of My Years” by Frank Sinatra


There’s this blue sundress I’ve had for over ten years now. I think I was around 24 when I bought it. I’d say it’s the oldest article of clothing I own, were it not for the fact that there’s probably a ratty pair of underpants in the back of a drawer somewhere that’s been waiting around for twenty years just to prove me wrong. Ratty underpants have nothing better to do, after all, and if there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the past 36 years, it’s that one should never allow underpants to gain the upper hand in life.

So anyway, at the risk of sounding all girly and crap, I really dig this sundress. But as I turn another year older today, I can’t help but suspect that sometime during the upcoming year (or maybe the next), I’ll put on this dress and discover to my horror that it makes me look like this . . .

Guess I’ll have to keep you posted.


The man in the looking glass, who can he be?
The man in the looking glass, can he possibly be me?
Where's our young Romeo, the lad who used to sigh?
Who's the middle-aged lothario with a twinkle in his eye?
He seems so much wiser now, less lonely but then
Could be he's only pretending again
Man in the looking glass, smiling away, how's your sacroiliac today?

--from “The Man in the Looking Glass” by Frank Sinatra

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Public Notice to All Dogs in My House

It is unacceptable to wake the Master at 6 AM by snorting and chuffing in a vexatious manner.

When snorting and chuffing fail to wake the Master, it is equally unacceptable to attempt to raise the Master by licking the floor covering until gagging ensues. The Master knows that you are just being a devious little bastard and are not really choking on carpet fuzz.

When the Little Dog’s snorting, chuffing and gagging fail to wake the Master, it is unacceptable for the Big Dog to dance around the bed whimpering and pounding her tail on the box spring like a Taiko drummer on Bennies.

Upon raising the Master with your desperate snorting, chuffing, gagging and drumming, it is unnecessary to follow the Master into the bathroom and sit two inches away while wearing the hard stare of a prison warden. The Master has never forgotten to take you outside or feed you. The Master has no logical motivation to climb out a second-story window in effort to avoid taking you outside or feeding you. Furthermore, the Master is a little pee-shy.

Upon leading the Master outside into the freezing cold, it is unacceptable to ignore the business at hand in favor of staring intently down the street as if anticipating an Apache ambush. This is not a John Ford film. It is a time when you are robbing the Master of precious sleep with your Rin Tin Tin tomfoolery. To expedite matters, I suggest that dogs imagine themselves in a John Waters film. By performing bodily functions on cue, dogs will earn top billing and a breakfast befitting of such artistes.

After breakfast, it is unnecessary to express your appreciation by jumping up on the bed and sneezing kibble bits onto the Master’s face.

While preparing to settle in with the Master for another few hours’ sleep, frantic digging on the Master’s belly should be avoided. The Master’s abdomen is not made of such materials as can be burrowed into or shifted about.

Upon settling in with the Master, it is undesirable for dogs to compete to see who can get the largest square footage of dog-on-human body contact on either side of the Master. This makes it impossible for the Master to move or breathe. The Master is not a cocktail sausage and does not wish to be tied up in the bedclothes like a Pig in a Blanket.

Friday, November 03, 2006

W. Daniel Furst, DDS

Some of you may recall a blog installment I posted a month ago in which I described my first root canal appointment. In that installment I introduced the fortuitously-named Dr. Furst, who is the first dentist I’ve liked since I’ve been living in North Carolina. This is no small matter to me, as I have harbored the big daddy of dentistry phobias since I was a wee lass and had several of my baby teeth pulled in one visit without being as anesthetized as I might have liked.

Three weeks ago, I had to go back in for another 2-hour appointment during which Dr. Furst did the build-up for my crown. Having survived my first appointment under the good doctor’s care, I was considerably more relaxed. While I may have been tense and trembling a tad, I at least wasn’t making the floor vibrate this time around. During the two hours of my second appointment, more unpleasant drilling, grinding, and scraping occurred. This time, however, I felt fully confident that Dr. Furst was giving the matter his full attention, and that he would not allow the drill to slip off the tooth and pierce my cerebellum. Best of all, there was more humming. This time it was the Beach Boys’ song, All Summer Long, which solidified my opinion that Dr. Furst was, in fact, a true genius of dentistry.

So yesterday was the final phase of the process. No drilling or scraping this time. All Dr. Furst had to do was to pop in the crown and send me on my way. As this would be the first time I’d seen him without my face full of Novocaine and slobber running down my neck, I looked forward to interacting with him like a normal human being instead of like a patient at a state mental institution. I’d planned to thank him for getting me through the experience in one piece. Of course, there’d be some fond reminiscing as well. “Remember that one time when I was all scared of the needles and drills? HA! Good times . . .” I’d say. Then we would laugh and laugh.

But what really happened was this. I arrived at the office and was ushered to the chair by Thelma, my favorite dental assistant. Just before she pulled my temporary crown off, she said, “You heard about Dr. Furst, right?”

Well, I hadn’t heard about Dr. Furst. Did he get in a fender bender? Did he win the lottery? Was he conked on the dome by an errant golf ball?

“No, what happened?” I said.

“He died.”

Ah, shit.

That’s right. Dr. Furst, genius of dentistry, died in his home at the age of 60, apparently of heart failure. I’d only met him a few times, but after having his hands in my mouth for four hours I’d grown pretty attached to the guy.

But what did I truly know about Dr. Furst? Well, not a whole hell of a lot, but let’s see what I can piece together.

1.) He loved to play golf, but probably would never have qualified for the Senior Tour.

2.) He liked a lot of elbow room when he worked, and preferred a workspace that was uncluttered by patients’ spectacles.

3.) He was liberal with the Novacaine, but was a real hard-ass about Percocet. I don’t know what procedures would warrant a Perc prescription, but a root canal, in Dr. Furst’s opinion, was not one of them. (To his credit, I didn’t actually need them. Not even a little bit.)

4.) He liked to wear a sombrero on occasion, as shown in a photograph behind the reception desk.

5.) He had a nice little hum. Over the course of my visits, I heard a wide range of Dr. Furst’s tuneless avant-garde humming, along with his chipper renditions of Speak Softly Love (The Theme from the Godfather), and the aforementioned Beach Boys song, All Summer Long. Oh, and let’s not forget this one . . . .

Oh when the saints go marching in
When the saints go marching in
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

And when the sun refuse to shine
And when the sun refuse to shine
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in . . . .

Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh when the trumpet sounds the call
Oh lord I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in

Hmm hmm hmm hmmmm, Hmm hmm hmm hmmmm,
Hmm hmm hmm hmmm, Hmm hmm hmm hmmm,
Hmm-hmm hmm hmmmm hmm hmm hmm-hmm hmm hmm
Hmm hmm hmm hmmmm hmm hmm hmm hmm. . . .

Thanks for the root canal, Doc. I hope you’re up there kicking Sam Snead’s ass.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What the Hell?!

Behold the first loaf of bread that I have ever baked . . .

Clearly I have been replaced by some evil alternate universe me. I don't bake bread. I don't bake, period. Not much for cooking in general, although I did successfully prepare a meal of Spaghetti-O's the other day that I was rather proud of -- not too chemically, with just a hint of aluminum.

I may be hooked on this bread thing. It was kind of fun, and I'm a sucker for good bread, which is somewhat scarce here in North Carolina. From what I can tell, many southerners have a mysterious aversion to any bread with a crunchy crust. This is just one more reason why I keep my door locked at night.

This particular bread recipe hooked me with phrases like "knead the prosciutto into the dough," "brush the crust with bacon fat before baking," and "brush the crust with bacon fat and allow to cool." I strongly believe that if all food were prepared like this, the world would be a much happier place.

Incidentally, if any of you other folks feel similarly overcome with the urge to bake bread all sudden-like, I highly recommend The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. It is extremely rube-friendly.

While you're at it, check out Breadbasketcase, a highly entertaining blog in which Marie Wolf describes her experiences as she attempts to bake all 82 bread recipes in The Bread Bible in one year. Go, Marie, go!